US states join forces to promote clean cars image

Eight states, among them California and New York, will work together to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles by speeding the construction of charging stations and other infrastructure.

The other states in the deal are Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont. The eight states together make up around 23 % of the U.S. auto market. The target is to have 3.3 million battery-powered cars, plug-in hybrids and other clean-burning vehicles on the roads in those states by 2025. That’s about 15 times as many zero-emission vehicles are projected for the entire US by 2015.

“The idea is to make it easier for customers to operate and use zero-emission vehicles. This in turn will help pave the way for success of the auto industry,” said Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board.

The plan signed Thursday is targeted at coordinating efforts among the eight states so that incentives, zoning laws and other ideas for supporting zero-emission vehicles can be implemented faster. Industry data forecasts more than 200,000 zero-emissions vehicles on the nation’s roads by 2015. That’s only a fraction out of more than 250 million registered vehicles in the country. There are now 16 zero-emission models from eight automakers on the US market — nine solely rely on batteries, two hydrogen fuel cell cars and five plug-in hybrid models, which can run on battery alone or gasoline.